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  7. Westward Journey

Westward Journey

OV with English subs
Followed by a talk with Assel Aushakimova and Quarteera

Followed by a talk with a representative from Quarteera and Assel Aushakimova (Russian with live English subtitles, transl. Alexandr Lange)

Through the use of oral storytelling and animation, Adamantine is a story of forgotten desire and the search for a sense of belonging, one that centers around a magical turn of events and the passage of self-discovery. Welcome to the USA tells a similar story, but follows the path of a lesbian who is suddenly able to migrate to start a new life and the challenges they face along the way. It is one of just a few feature-length Kazakh films with a protagonist from the LGBTQ community. With both films ultimately expressing a form of wishful thinking and the kind of “magical” energy that lies behind all emancipatory projects, each sheds light on the often forgotten narratives of queer persons in/from post-soviet central Asia.

Art Arutyunyan, USA 2017, 9 min.

Welcome to the USA
Assel Aushakimova, Kazakhstan 2019, 94 min.

Quarteera has been connecting Russian-speaking LGBTQI* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersexual) people in Germany since 2012. The organization counteracts the multiple disadvantages Russian-speaking LGBTIQ* people face as non-Germans and as LGBTQI*. Fields of work include political education, counseling services for LGBTQI* people and its parents, and international cooperation projects with LGBTQI* organizations especially in the countries of the former USSR.

Assel Aushakimova is a Kazakhstani director, screenwriter, and producer. Her first feature film Welcome to the USA had its world premiere at AFI Fest 2019 and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize as Best International Narrative Feature of NewFest New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2020. She is currently working on her second feature film that has been selected for the first workshop of the Biennale College Cinema 2020-2021 of Venice IFF.